On Friday, October 4, over 55 local business minds gathered at the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship to share their collective marketing knowledge over coffee, doughnuts, and gluten-free cupcakes.

The event drew a diverse blend of people, from entrepreneurs to startup founders to freelancers and employees of small businesses and large corporations alike. Age and experience varied, but everyone brought a marketing tip. 

To begin, everyone had the chance to introduce themselves and their business to the group. Because of the sizable turnout, however, the group then split into two smaller circles to share their tips. 

Overall, the event was casual and free-flowing, with all attendees eager to share their knowledge and encourage one another’s efforts.

“Last Friday’s event was a good reminder that our entrepreneurial community desires quality interaction and to share knowledge with one another,” said Brienne Maner, Zeal’s executive director. “We sometimes tend to overthink event coordination; oftentimes not much more is needed than a simple format and a free hot cup of coffee offered during a convenient window of time.”

Maner and Startup Sioux Falls’ founder, Matt Paulson, came up with the idea for the event in conversation about the entrepreneurial community and worked together to plan the simple, inviting “Morning Marketing Party.” 

If attendance and enthusiasm are any indicator, similar events will soon be in the works.

“Zeal Center looks forward to continued entrepreneurial experience curation in partnership with Startup Sioux Falls,” Maner said. 

We collected some of the tips mentioned during the event here, but we certainly didn’t catch them all. If a tip that stood out to you didn’t make it on this list, please comment it below.

Note: The following tips are paraphrased, not direct quotes.
  • “When it comes to email marketing, be cognizant of the data you’re collecting early. It may seem unnecessary, but it could scale fast. Start capturing it now.” – Sarah Carnes, CEO, 9 Clouds
  • “Increase your email open rate by 30 percent by sending your email first at 7 a.m., and again at 7 p.m. Some services will allow you to exclude recipients who have already opened the email, but most people won’t notice or care that they’ve received the same email twice, and you’ll get more opens.” – Matt Paulson, Founder, MarketBeat
  • “When you’re scheduling meetings, suggest taking a walk instead of getting together over coffee. You’ll save money, and even if the meeting is a dud, you’ll get your exercise.” – Jacqueline Rust, Owner, Onsite State Tax LLC
  • “Hope is not a strategy. Write your actual strategy down.” – Jennifer Jones, Executive Director, Love2Learn Tutoring
  • “If you have a physical product, hand out samples. Talk to everyone, and don’t panic.” – April Smith, Owner, Heart of the City Bakery
  • “LinkedIn is an underutilized tool. Address the pain point you’re able to solve for clients in your “About” section rather than treating it like a resume.” – Kim Vander Poel, Founder, Fresh Impact
  • “Go live on Facebook. Just do it.” – Clint Brown, Senior Producer, Studio Be
  • “Make sure your social media are actually active and not just sitting there with a post from six months ago as your most recent.” – Maureen Ohm, Event Manager, Startup Sioux Falls
  • “Get the word ‘just’ out of your vocabulary.” – Bill Kiecksee, Owner, Sylvan Learning Centers
  • “Tips aren’t enough, it’s all about follow-through.”Amos Buelow, Christian Men’s Life and Health Coach
  • “Refine your story and get your message out. Reach out to local media–they’re always looking for content.” – Brienne Maner, Executive Director, Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship
  • “Don’t be afraid to show the negative part of a story, or the positive won’t mean anything. Also, the customer should always be the star of the story.” – Denise DePaolo, Communications Manager, Midco
  • “Ask people questions, and be invested in the people you’re with.” – Jason Honey, Director of Marketing, Trail Ridge Senior Living Community
  • “Keep a pulse on your clients’ market. I keep a file of print materials, online ads, etc. to see what the competition is up to.” – Mikena Vanliere, Account Executive, Caliber Creative

Check out photos from Friday’s Morning Marketing Party below.

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